Secondary Protocol: What If Cromnibus Blows Up? UPDATE: It Didn't

Posted: Dec 11, 2014 7:00 PM
Secondary Protocol: What If Cromnibus Blows Up? UPDATE: It Didn't

Right now, the final vote has been delayed since it's unclear if there are enough votes to pass it.

As both sides maneuver on votes, Conn reported earlier today that the White House is trying to move fellow Democrats into the ‘yea’ column of the spending measure, which has some Democrats, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a little irked. So, what if this bill fails to pass? What’s the secondary protocol? It'll probably be a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown (via National Journal):

GOP leaders are considering a fallback plan to bring up a shorter continuing resolution if the larger bill fails to pass Thursday.

That fallback measure could last just until next week, offering GOP leaders time to formulate a new strategy. Or, one Republican aide said, it could last a full three months and push the entire spending package into the 114th Congress, when the party will control both chambers of Congress.

"We expect the bill to pass with bipartisan support today, but if it does not, we will pass a short-term CR to avoid a government shutdown," Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, said Thursday morning. "The length and other details of that bill have not been determined."

Boehner was more dramatic later Thursday morning, telling reporters: "If we don't get finished today, we're going to be here until Christmas. You all know how this process works."

Thursday's rule vote was a barometer of how much trouble party whips will have in corralling the votes to pass the omnibus. House Republicans are predicting that floor action will be finished by early afternoon, including a vote on a two-day continuing resolution to keep the government open through the weekend so the Senate can complete its work. (If the omnibus fails, then the House would move a CR that lasts longer than two days.)

The White House gave the omnibus bill a key boost Thursday, announcing that the Obama administration supports its passage despite "the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders" as well as the decision to offer only short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security. That cover from President Obama should make it easier for at least some congressional Democrats to back the measure. The White House has also been calling House Democrats about the bill, according to sources.

Yet, the article also reported that about 70 House Republicans plan to vote against the bill since it does nothing to block Obama’s executive action on immigration.

And while the White House provided some cover, some Democrats are disregarding it, like Rep. Maxine Waters.

Yet, while Waters is vocal in her opposition of the bill–and President Obama’s lobbying of it–a press release from Speaker Boehner’s Office showed that she was for the Dodd-Frank reforms before she was against them [emphasis added by Boehner’s Office, italicized text part of minority views section]:

Some Democrats are decrying the inclusion of a common-sense Dodd-Frank reform in the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill – a bipartisan, House-passed reform that would protect manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and Main Street businesses from onerous regulations that will hurt our economy. Yet those same members, including former Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and current Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) once supported the very same provision. Here’s what they said in 2012, in the “minority views” section of the committee report for this same bill:

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires, for the first time, the regulation of over-the-counter derivatives, previously opaque transactions that helped bring our financial system to the brink of disaster. The vast majority of derivatives must now be centrally cleared and publicly reported, and be backed by margin and capital to ensure that swap dealers and major swap users can honor their commitments. In addition, the reform law also prohibits banks from placing bets with federally insured deposits through the `Volcker Rule'. Both measures serve as important safeguards as we rebuild trust in our financial system.

As amended, H.R. 1838 would repeal portions of Section 716 of the financial reform law, also known as the `push-out provision.' Section 716 prohibits banks from engaging in several types of derivatives. Questions have been raised about this provision by economists and regulators including FDIC's Sheila Bair, who are concerned that it might interfere with a bank's ability to use derivatives to diminish risk. Section 716 was not part of the original House-passed version of the financial reform law.

During the Full Committee markup, Democrats worked with the Majority to amend H.R. 1838 to continue the prohibition of complex swaps employed by AIG with devastating effect. H.R. 1838, as amended, addresses the valid criticisms of Section 716 without weakening the financial reform law's important derivative safeguards or prohibitions on bank proprietary trading.

Barney Frank

Wm. Lacy Clay

Gwen Moore

James A. Himes

Ruben Hinojosa

Andre Carson

Gary L. Ackerman

Al Green

Stephen F. Lynch

David Scott

Maxine Waters

Carolyn B. Maloney

Melvin L. Watt

Luis V. Gutierrez

Gary C. Peters

Ed Perlmutter

Michael E. Capuano

Gregory W. Meeks

Regardless, we’re less than six hours away from a government shutdown–and the clock is ticking.

UPDATE: Well, the Cromnibus passed 219-206 (via Roll Call):

The House narrowly advanced a trillion-dollar spending bill Thursday night to fund nearly all federal operations through the end of the fiscal year.

The measure passed 219-206 and now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have just a few hours to avert a government shutdown; funding runs out at 11:59 p.m.

Sixty-seven Republicans joined 139 Democrats voting “no,” a volume of opposition ultimately not great enough to stymie the bill that was, by all accounts, controversial — even for those who voted “yes.”

The outcome was even more of a win for GOP leaders than it might have been otherwise: Earlier in the day they were forced to postpone the vote indefinitely to make up for a shortfall on both sides of the aisle.


Following passage of the cromnibus, the House passed by unanimous consent a two-day continuing resolution to allow the Senate to pass the spending package as early as Friday morning but not have funding lapse in the meantime.

Now, it's off to the Senate.